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Catalyzing the Great Turning by Re-membering the Mind of Nature

July 24, 2015

In 1984 E.O.Wilson’s ‘biophilia hypothesis’ brought the West’s scientific attention to the psychical, as well as physical, inter-relation we have with Nature: humans have a deep urge to love our fellow kinship and natural neighbourhood.

Since then there have been numerous studies pointing to the deleterious effect our sense of separation from Nature has on us, along with the regenerative effect Nature has on our ability to flourish in wholesome ways. Western science is on the cusp of the dawning realisation that our sense of separation from Nature creates dis-ease causing a great number of the problems littering our culture today.

‘The modern condition of soiling our nest reflects how we’ve become dissociated from our somas, our communities, and the Earth itself. This has become a pathological condition so widespread that we think of it as normal…When we feel ourselves as part of Nature we invoke a vast intelligence that is both deeply spacious and deliriously ecstatic. When we tie in with the life force it rights us from our distractions and reconnects us to the rapture of life.’ Richard Strozzi-Heckler.

This sense of separation from Nature is what the anthropologist Gregory Bateson referred to as an ‘original corruption’ setting us up for an evolutionary cul-de-sac of selfish ascendance.  It fuels hubris, he says, whereupon common sense becomes insanity.

Learning how to open up to our essential nature and to our deeper Nature within and all around us is the most radical of undertakings for our evolution as flourishing beings.

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Wisdom traditions the world over have long understood Nature’s wisdom (using different names for this Pleroma: Sophia, Akasha, Divine Ground, Aluna, Shekinah, Tao, Indra’s Net). It is the same phenomenon that quantum physicists are now grappling to comprehend in exploring the existence of an all-pervasive potent presence; an intangible formlessness which gives birth to energy and form; they call it the quantum vaccum, zero-point energy field or dark energy and it pervades everything, nothing is separate from it.

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The Kogi – an indigenous tribe of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – are an ancient society upholding the sacred wisdom of Nature which, for them is a sacred embodiment of Aluna – the Great Mother that gives birth to and nurtures the entire Cosmos, and ourselves within it. The embodiment of Aluna is central to their sense of place and purpose in this world. They wish to re-mind us of the grave danger we face in not honouring this wisdom of life.

For the Kogi – along with other shamanic cultures and ancient wisdom traditions the world over –  the Mind of Nature (Aluna) is a deeply wise matrix, a cosmic womb or collective archetypal field from which creative energy spawns forth in a process of unfolding evolution. Each moment is an unfolding participatory dance of our conscious awareness co-creating within this Cosmic Intellect. To resonate with the innate rhythms, patterns, tensions and harmonies within and all around us, is to become conscious expressions of this Nature whereupon our sense of place and purpose in this life can be heard in our hearts. To be unaware of, or de-sensitised, to this wisdom is to allow ourselves to become out-of-tune and adrift from this deeper resonance. With this dis-ease we fall prey to polluting thoughts, emotions and belief-patterns, and find ourselves caught up in the contagion of consumerism now plaguing us.  For the Kogi, re-membering this rhythm of Nature is the beginning of righting ourselves and our societies.

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All our actions and interactions are immersed within this sentient sea of sacredness and to bring this awareness into our everyday understanding of life is to awaken the sacred within and all around us; a dawning of our destiny as Homo sapiens – wise beings. This is the ‘Great Turning’ from our current carcinogenetic culture to one that flourishes in harmony with life.

From as early as I can recall, I have always sensed this ‘ground of being’ from which everything in life is immersed and nourished. While the ‘life feeds on life’ reality I see all around and within me often perplexes me, there is never a doubt that I am ‘biophilically’ in love with life, in awe of its unfathomable beauty, enchanted by its wisdom, perplexed by its paradoxes. On occasions my everyday consciousness is enriched, if for the briefest of moments, by this wisdom in our midst. I know that what prevents me from fully living and fully loving are my own ingrained habituations and acculturations picked up from living in this carcinogenic culture. And I know it is nothing but my quality of attention and intention that can emancipate my mind-set from this acculturation.

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Whether we choose to believe in Aluna or not is not the question here. This question is: Do you fancy living in a culture that enhances our greatness or undermines it; a culture that teaches us to love life or vandalise it; a culture that celebrates or denigrates our sense of place and purpose in this world?

We do not need to impose another ideology or set of beliefs onto reality.  Instead, we need to hold space for opening our attention individually and collectively – this way we can allow the truth to emerge from our souls.  There is no better time and place than the situation we find ourselves in for us to open our hearts and minds to Nature, to humbly listen to rather than hubristically seeking domination and control over Her. The call of Aluna is here and the metamorphosis is in our midst.

Giles Hutchins is author of The Illusion of Separation and The Nature of Business

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Steps Towards A Deeper Way of Life

July 20, 2015

Linear thinking and its rationalising objectification provides an important tool for us, helping us abstract our thinking from the here-and-now for analysis, planning, forecasting, scientific empirical examination and material exploitation. This thinking has helped us construct our civilizations.  No problem, unless this way of attending begins to dominate and so crowds out our other ways of knowing (sensing, feeling, embodying, intuiting).

simon Jung's mandala

The ‘thinking tool’ has a grasping tendency that, if left unchecked, usurps our attention to such an extent that we lose touch of the deeper wisdom within and all around us – we perceive only the abstractions of our analysing mind, missing the wood for the trees.

‘We have created a sufficiently strong propensity not only to make divisions in knowledge where there are none in Nature, and then to impose the divisions on Nature, making the reality thus comfortable to the idea, but to go further, and to convert the generalisations made from observation into positive entities, permitting for the future these artificial creations to tyrannise over the understanding.’  Henry Maudsley

With this come out-of-kilter perspectives that bring us out of conscious attunement with life’s rhythms and wisdom. We begin to find it harder to align with our deeper sense of self-other-Nature. And so our relations warp from the inherently empathic, biophilic, compassionate nature of Homo sapiens into portraying only the self-absorbing egotistic-traits of selfishness, greed, competition and narcissism.  So caught up in our own self-reflexive ego-chattering illusions we become, that we increasingly numb ourselves from embodying the deeper intrinsic inter-relational reality of life.

Alas, this is what is happening on a global scale with deleterious consequences for all life on Earth. Any meaningful transition towards a more sustainable and civilized future for humanity needed to involve our re-membering a more balanced way of attending to life: yin/yang, receptive/responsive, open/closed, flowing/specific, dynamic/objectified, presencing/abstract, intuitive/rational, feminine/masculine, and so forth.

‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind its faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift’. Albert Einstein

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This re-balancing allows us to contribute to a rebalancing in our organisations, communities, socio-economics and ways of governing.

There are a great variety of ways to enhance a more balanced yin-yang, receptive-responsive awareness in our lives. For example: bringing more stillness into our busy minds by sitting quieting, feeling the space between our heart-beats, feeling the in and out breath in our nostrils, meditating, chanting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, reading or writing poetry, practicing somatic awareness, yoga, Qi Kong, T’ai Chi, etc.  And there are ways to bring this more embodied awareness into the workplace too – hence the work on Steps Towards a Deeper Ecology of Business we explored recently at Ashridge Business School.


7s ways of being & doing

For me, I like immersing myself in the natural world, finding stillness within the movements of Nature, along with some gentle T’ai Chi and yoga movements. The more I develop this deeper sense of presence the more noticeable it is when my rationalising, abstracting and often distracting ego monkey-mind interferes and so the more conscious I can be in allowing my rational mind to serve as a useful tool rather than trying to dominate.

Feeling the creative energy within my bodymind helps me re-member that I (like all expression of Nature) am energy. This energetic presence within (and all around me) is receptive and responsive. I can enhance this receptivity and responsiveness by attuning my bodymind through developing what is often referred to as ‘heart-awareness’ due to our bodyminds finding their centre-of-awareness in the heart area.

The Heart – A Powerful Organ of Perception

Much research has been undertaken into the heart as an organ of perception (along with the gut and brain, also increasing scientific recognition that each and every cell in our bodies contains mind-matter aspects with capacity for sentience and memory).  The heart is the body’s most powerful electromagnetic sensor and transmitter, continually decoding the vast array of electromagnetic and quantum signals radiating in our lived-in environment. 65% of the cells in the heart are neural cells which are wired into the nervous system, gut and brain.

The heart governs our bodymind’s sensory, neural, nervous and instinctual systems. There is now scientific evidence pointing to the heart perceiving and decoding intuitive information from our surrounds first and foremost (‘direct perception’) and then updating the brain and gut, which then respond to this information – hence, intuitive feelings, premonitions and also ESP phenomena are detected through the direct perception of the heart (see one such scientific study here).

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While much of this continual and participatory dialogue with the world around us happens beyond the perceptual horizon of our conscious awareness, as we develop ‘heart-awareness’ we can allow ourselves to become more conscious of this deeper way of knowing. And with this comes a richer sense of perceiving subtle fluctuations in our bodymind’s capacity for knowing – our ‘somatic awareness’ which embodiment activities aim to enhance. Developing heart-awareness, therefore, enriches our intuitive mind and also enriches our embodied ways of sensing and responding with the world around and within us.

Studies have proven that becoming more conscious of our heart-awareness has healing effects on our bodymind: invoking feelings of love through our hearts can shift us from a state of dis-ease towards wellbeing, with hormonal changes and alterations in our brain-wave patterns (alpha, beta, gamma frequencies). As we become more practiced at developing heart-awareness, we can develop what is called ‘heart entrainment’, where our brain-wave patterns become coherent across our left and right brain hemispheres and also entraining within our heart and gut centres. With this comes the immediate benefits of heightened mental clarity, improved decision making, increased responsiveness and resiliency to changes, efficiency of energy use, increased creativity and innovation, along with improved emotions of general happiness, empathy, compassion and conviviality – all important contributors in shifting our organisations towards more resilient, purposeful, joyous firms of the future!

The following heart-entrainment exercise is a simple yet powerful way to ignite this foundation for living with love.  This practice requires no credit card only our quality of intention and attention.

Heart Entrainment Exercise (based on The HeartMath Institute, see their quick coherence technique here):

Step 1 – Heart-breathing:  focus your attention on the heart. Place your hands upon your heart and use your imagination to feel yourself inhaling and exhaling in and out through the heart, and through your hands on your heart.  Spend a few moments heart breathing in and out through the heart area; taking deeper breaths as you relax. This helps shift attention from busy mental chatter into the heart area.

Step 2 – Activate a loving feeling:  by remembering a loving memory, perhaps a special place or pet you once had or have, or something you love doing, like listening to a favourite song or the feeling you have when immersed in your favourite hobby, or making love.  Use your imagination to conjure up this feeling of love within your heart area, while continuing to undertake the heart-breathing in Step 1. And then allow this loving feeling to wash over your whole body.

Step 3 – While breathing deeply and allowing this loving feeling to fill your entire bodymind, repeat a simple affirmation over and over atleast five times in your mind, or whispering with your lips, or out loud if your situation allows.  As long as the affirmation is love-based, it will help shift psychological blocks within you and allow you to open up to deeper heart entrainment.  A simple affirmation could be ‘I am able to fully love myself’.  After all, we struggle to ‘love thy neighbour’ when we are unable to fully ‘love thy self’, the two are interdependent on each other, and so loving ourselves and opening up to love is vital in shifting our way of relating from fear/control/separation to compassion/nurturing/inter-being.

The Heart-in-Business activities of Thornton’s Budgets in Belsize Park is a good example of bringing this heart-based, soulful awareness into the workplace with profound benefits.

This ‘power of love’ is ‘radical sustainability’ because it goes to the root cause of our unsustainable way of behaving by shifting how we attend to life: from separation to synchronicity, from power over to power with, from ego to ecological/inter-relational.  From this foundation an attitude of criticism and condemnation transforms into one of nurturing and encouraging. Our enthusiasm for life becomes infectious.

Compassion can be understood as the active principle which fuels our empathic resonance through love, in-so-doing nourishing and nurturing others.  The more we give with love, the more we receive with love.

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By consciously opening our doors of perception beyond the narrow-mindedness of rationalistic, anthropocentric materialism we learn to reconnect with the wisdom within and all around us, in-so-doing we gain a deeper sense of intimacy, love and meaning in our lives.  This is the beginning of our future, unfettered by yesterday’s logic of separation, competition and domination.

Radical Activism: Activating the power of love; shifting our awareness of the everyday moments: this is the front-line in our transformation towards a sustainable future. Now, more than ever, we need to re-member the profound logic of the heart.

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Activating the new paradigm while transcending yesterday’s logic

July 8, 2015

In times of turmoil, the danger lies not in the turmoil, but in facing it with yesterday’s logic’ – Peter Drucker

Yesterday’s logic is founded upon the illusion of separation created by the objectify lens of Western rationalistic science. It is a logic that sets humans apart from each other and from the rest of nature within a world viewed through the lens of competition. The unit of evolution is understood as the selfish gene competing with its environment for the preservation of favored races in the struggle for survival.

The story of mind exiled from Nature is the story of Western Man’ -Ted Hughes

This way of thinking underpins today’s business mind-set where competitive advantage is viewed as the Holy Grail. It is this very logic that is at the heart of all our crises – world poverty, climate change, biodiversity loss, social inequality, etc. And yet many of today’s sustainable business solutions apply this flawed logic without stepping back to question it. If we have any hope of rectifying the error of our ways, this logic needs to be put right at its root otherwise all we can hope for is merely delaying the inevitable endgame through efficiency tweaks to an inherently carcinogenic modus operandi.

‘Our sense of separation from Nature corrupts us, it fuels an arrogance, a hubris, whereupon common sense becomes insanity.’ -Gregory Bateson

Many have said before that sustainable business is like slowing a bus down that is heading in the wrong direction. Applying the brakes and fitting catalytic converters is a useful first step in getting our act together. Now the time is ripe for embarking on the right road – a radically new logic that transcends this sense of separation.

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Transcending the Illusion of Separation                   

All the time new findings bring fresh perspectives on the driving forces inherent within life. Far from the genome being a rigid set of building blocks and innately selfish we realize it is a fluid system of dynamic localities that evolve by inter-playing with its environment. We recognize that evolution is essentially co-creative, fluid and connective. Rather than organisms struggling for survival they thrive through dynamic relationship. ‘To be’ does not mean ‘to be in competition’ (what C.S. Lewis referred to as ‘the philosophy of Hell’) it means ‘to be participating within the co-creativity of life’.

Biologist Lynn Margulis has extensively studied cell behavior and contends that cooperation, interplay and mutual dependence among life forms are what allow for the global expression of life we see around us. She notes, ‘Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.’  Far from life being driven by competitive struggle it cooperates to form richer environments for life to further evolve.

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The scientific convenience of isolating complexities into neatly packaged definitions for us to get our heads around has led to a flawed logic which we then project on to our societies and economies. Darwin’s definition of the organism as separate from its environment is what the anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson saw as the basic flaw which corrupts the thinking that flows from it, as for him the interplay of the organism with its environment is paramount to its health, viability and evolution.  Bateson viewed comparing one species against another in a struggle for survival as insane. He likened our Western worldview of survival through competition as ‘an ecology of bad ideas’ which breeds parasitic humans, purely self-centred and destructive of their host.

MDG : Green Economy and Forests REDD : hills of  burnt out brown and deforested land in Thailand

The more we understand Nature (as ancient and indigenous minds have long since recognized) the more we realize that nothing is totally separate from anything else, rather everything is in dynamic interplay with everything else, what plays out through one relationship impacts the wider matrix. Nature, operating within restraints, creates limitless varieties – from thresholds comes creativity, from restrictions comes diversity. There is an inherent wisdom within Nature which yesterday’s logic incorrectly abstracts. The more we open ourselves up to our inner nature, our local neighborhood and the wider natural world around us the more we become truly sustainable.

nature sustainability

The ‘New Paradigm’ is actually ancient, yet flowing with fresh spontaneity. The answers to our pressing challenges are all around and within us – inspiration and harmonization within Nature. Biomimicry, regenerative and circular economies, industrial ecology and so forth all take inspiration from Nature. And yet the deeper wisdom of Nature lies beyond the severing scalpel and mathematising mind. It is permeating deep within every one of us and throughout all life.

The quality of our intention and attention to life is what determines our ability to attune with this inherent wisdom, this Sophia in our midst.

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This attunement of our bodymind within the wisdom of Nature can be developed and enhanced through contemporary eco-psychological practices, along with the ancient practices of yoga, T’ai Chi, Qi Qong, dance, expressive arts therapy, mandalas and mantras – all forms of embodiment work that focus on enhancing our somatic-social-soulful awareness.

To attune with Nature is our sacred gift. This is the Nature which Shakespeare speaks of –

‘Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law my services are bound.’

And the Nature of Confucius some five centuries before Christ –

‘He who is harmony with Nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.’

It is time to transform our way of attending to life beyond yesterday’s logic whereupon we see more clearly the way of Nature, re-membering who we truly are within this diverse community of inter-relating subjects.

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Time to stand up for what we believe to be right

June 26, 2015

What our world needs right now is an awakening of our humanity .

If we are honest with ourselves we spend a large part of our waking lives half asleep, largely unconscious or unaware of reality as it really is, seeing only illusory fragments, narrowed-down perspectives through mind-sets clouded with fears, anxieties, distractions, judgements, habituations and ruminations. If we were to really perceive life through all of our brains, bodies, hearts and souls, we would be in love with this awesome experience and attend to our relationships (strangers, friends, lovers and more-than-human kinship) in quite different more enlivened ways.  This in turn would influence how we relate with the world in general and how we perceive ‘others’ such as immigrants or different creeds. We would activate a shift in our attention: one of care rather than control, of empathy rather than envy, fear and competition.

To fall in love with our life experiences – whether it is the small things, the routine activities or the breath-taking inspirations – is to make our escape from a warped worldview: a matrix of perception ingrained into us at partly unconscious levels.

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Our worldview is acculturated in us – a deluding neurosis with devastating ramifications for human society and the wider fabric of life on Earth. And, our ingrained approaches to education, economics and organisational management are, in the main, infected by this neurosis and so exacerbating the acculturation of our insanity – what Albert Hoffman called a ‘Western entelechy neurosis’ and what Albert Einstein called ‘an optical delusion of consciousness’.

Yet each of us have the natural capacity to see beyond this delusion, regardless of our bank balance, job, upbringing or age. Through the quality of our attention and our conscious intention, we can break free from the matrix of our own making. We are our own jail makers and jail breakers.

‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds’  Bob Marley, Redemption Song

In these challenging yet pivotal times for humanity we need all the assistance we can muster to help inspire this shift in awareness. Positive News in the UK provides just this by sharing front-line stories of ordinary people transcending fear with courage and selfishness with service.

In a world littered with debasing, oppositional, fear-filled news and twisted misrepresentations, this type of honest, humane and constructive journalism is rare; a sad reflection of how inured we have become in the illusion, and take it as quite normal, no longer able to sense the insanity so anesthetized we have become.

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Positive News is free from the insidious commercialisation and political motives plaguing our newspapers, journals and magazines today. It takes a stand for what is right.

Positive News needs you and me to help support its co-operative venture so that it can continue to shine a light on the inspiring, constructive stories of ordinary people doing courageous things to make change happen in society.

Here is how you can help contribute to this front line action

It’s time to stand up for what we know in our hearts is right and move away from what we inherently know is undermining our very humanity.  It’s time to live up to who we truly are.

Why Positive News??  This short youtube clip explains.

The sharing of inspiring, enlivening stories of people awakening our humanity is instrumental to this transformation in our midst. Are you a part of this?  To become a co-owner  please invest here.

 

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Redesigning for Resilience – Firms of the Future

June 15, 2015

Since the Industrial Revolution, we have achieved great feats of economic, social and technological advancement for which, as a species, we can be proud. Yet the challenges (and opportunities) now facing our businesses, economies and societies are all too apparent. These include:

  • volatile input costs
  • volatile prices
  • volatile consumer buying patterns
  • increasing complexity and risk in supply chains
  • changing demographics, world population shifts
  • shift to a multipolar world
  • increasing socio-economic/political tensions
  • increasing scarcity of finite natural resources
  • increasing propensity of food and water shortages
  • increasing frequency of natural disasters and epidemics
  • climate change
  • peak oil, peak elements, and so on
  • ocean acidification and dead zones
  • rapid decline in biodiversity
  • increasing inequality
  • rising world poverty
  • increasing mental health issues and stress-related illnesses
  • exponential growth in population and consumption rates.

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So what has all this got to do with business and business paradigms?

First, it is our current business paradigm that has exacerbated the imbalances, tensions and volatility we face today. As Albert Einstein observed: “We cannot solve the problems in the world with the same level of thinking that brought them about in the first place.” To operate in the world we now live in we need fresh approaches to businesses that are fit for the present and future.

Second, good business is fundamentally about seeking out opportunities for value creation, not about trying to get something for nothing. As our social, economic and environmental landscapes become ever more volatile, business approaches need to adapt and evolve to optimise the opportunities for value creation.

Third, in the words of Paul Hawken, “Business and industry is the only institution that is large enough, pervasive enough and powerful enough to lead humankind out of this mess.” Therefore, the re-evaluation and transformation of our business paradigm is fundamental to the successful evolution, not only of business, but of our species as a whole.

Read more…

The T’ai Chi Sacred Marriage of Being & Doing: Living The Way of Nature

May 22, 2015

T’ai Chi is an ancient art form, where the artist perfects the art of being and doing while attuning with the Tao.

‘An artist is an instrument through which the Universe reveals itself’ – Goldschneider & Elffers

The realisation of the Tao is a magical, ecstatic dance – the dance of yin-yang, of receptivity and responsiveness revealing a sacred reciprocity, the revelation of Nature as Creatrix.

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In this magical dance of yin-yang, tensions are transmuted into new dawns of becomings, where being and doing cohere. It is here we taste the Tao (aka, the Shekinah, Akasha, Divine Ground, Nature, Great Mystery, Motherly Space, Ma’at, Aluna, quantum vacuum, zero point field, dark energy, ground-of-all-being, all-nourishing-abyss).

As the quantum scientist Ervin Laszlo notes,

‘The dance of our mind with the quantum vacuum links us with other minds around us… it opens our mind to society, to nature and to the universe. This openness has been known to mystics and sensitives, prophets and metaphysicians through the ages.’

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It is what Zhang Bo Duan (of the eleventh century Taoist Classics) refers to as the T’ai Chi Dance of Ecstasy: an embodied immersion of ourselves within the Rainbow River of Chi flowing within and all around us. Words cannot do justice to such an ecstatic state of dynamic non equilibrium, this is an embodied feeling of being and doing laced with love and is quite beyond anything the ego-mind can grasp.

Early last year, I was invited to speak at a Heart Mind Body Spirit festival at the Rainbow T’ai Chi Chi Kung Centre in South Devon (check out the web site, it is guaranteed to make you smile :- )

It was here that I first met Master Peter Chin Kean Choy, a uniquely gifted teacher of ancient Taoist practices aimed at bringing the realisation of the Tao into our daily lives for heart-based living.

The Taoists studied the way of Nature some 2,500 years before Christ. They became aware of the tensions and rhythms of life: receptivity, responsiveness, reciprocity. It is the seemingly opposing tension of receptivity (yin) and responsiveness (yang) that provide for the sacred reciprocity abundant in Nature. It is the tensions that provide for the diversity of life; tensions as crucibles that leverage creativity, innovation, learning and development – no tensions, no music, no dance, no life.

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The sacred feminine yin dances with the sacred masculine yang; an act of love making; spiralling, twisting vortices, eddies, undercurrents and waves, giving birth to a sacred reciprocity, an alchemic becoming blended of being and doing, the non-action within action. Self-awareness is our portal into perceiving this ocean of chi energy so that we may live in harmony: somatic, social and soulful awareness feeding our intention and attention.

The waves are never separate from the ocean. The ocean gives birth to the wave, yet each wave has its own unique form, its own distinguishing character while remaining part of the ocean. Every vibration of energy, every body is an expression of Nature. Receptivity originates.  Without conscious awareness of our receptivity, our responsiveness becomes ungrounded, no longer flowing with the Tao and dis-ease ensues. We becomes out-of-kilter as we warp our way of attending towards an increasing tendency for ‘having’, ‘wanting’, ‘owning’, ‘consuming’.

MDG : Green Economy and Forests REDD : hills of  burnt out brown and deforested land in Thailand

In today’s busyness, fraught with stresses and strains, we have allowed ourselves to get caught up in the responsive yang-ness while severing our self-reflexivity from yin receptivity. We have caught ourselves up in our own ego-entrapment, deluded ourselves that the superficial ripples and waves upon the surface of the ocean are all there is. Our materialistic, narrowing-down lens corrupts us, undermining the way we relate with ourselves, each other and the world around us.

It is our natural yin-receptivity which connects us to the Source, to Tao, to Nature. The more we allow our ego-mind’s to separate our receptivity from our responsiveness, the more we separate our inner-sense from our outer actions and the more pathological and carcinogenic we become.

To deal with the symptoms plaguing us – whether it be climate change or debt-slavery – we need to deal with root causes: our way of communing with the Tao. The gentle movements of T’ai Chi are aimed at just this. Radical activism starts here within our heart of hearts, where illusions are shattered and beauty is born.

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Bio-logically, we can understand these gentle movements as stimulating our body’s energy channels, helping the natural flow of chi in our muscles, ligaments and organs. This enhances the electromagnetic channels between the gut, heart and brain, helping develop resilience, health and vitality as we engage with the tensions and strains of life.

Also, these gentle movements bring our awareness into our bodies as we sense the subtle energies, in-so-doing shifting our attention out of the ego-chattering brain into the bodymind. This somatic awareness allows for a coherence of our left and right brain hemispheres along with coherence of the head with the heart and gut. It is with this coherence that we open up to our natural receptivity – the yin-ness within. This allows us to gain direct perception of life, unfettered from the abstractions of our ego-awareness and left-brain’s grasping, atomising, narrowing-down tendency.

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This opening of our doors of perception allows us to sense an ecological awareness of the rich interplaying ecology of life, an inter-relational orchestra of Nature. This heightens our bodymind’s receptivity to the subtle perturbations within us and all around us. We feel more alive and more present. In turn this allows our responsiveness – our yang-ness – to dance with this receptivity. Our outer actions attune with our inner-sense. Our doing attunes with our being. Receptivity flows through our responsiveness so that we relate to the world around us with an attentive, compassionate, sympathetic, wise attention. From the dance of receptivity and responsiveness is born a sacred reciprocity, as we begin to consciously take part in the Dance of Life. This is the way of the Tao.

‘Know the male,

Yet keep to the female’ – Lao Tzu

As we cultivate this yin-feminine-receptive awareness, we open up to the natural awakenings of our intuition and insight that the ocean of wisdom within and all around us contains.

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Mastering the yin-yang, being-doing, inner-outer tensions of life is an alchemic life-process which allows us to open up to the Mind of Nature as we surrender in service to something far greater than our ego-chattering masturbating monkey-minds would have us see.

To align with the Tao is to align with creation and transform our foolish hubris into wise humility. This is at the heart of any regenerative, restorative socio-economic business.

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To be in harmony with Nature – this feels like what life is teaching us, and the ancient ways of T’ai Chi, and other ancient shamanic, alchemic traditions show us the way, if we so choose to look.

 

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Accessing the Mind of Nature (Part One)

May 19, 2015

We are in the midst of an evolutionary step change in how we operate and organise: a shift from linear, mechanistic, control-based modes toward living, emergent, self-organising, life-affirming ways. This shift demands a letting-go of old, ingrained ways of being and doing and a letting-come of fresh (yet also timeless) ways found within the Mind of Nature. This is a shift in human consciousness no less.

‘The major problems in the world are the results of the difference between how Nature works and the way people think’ – Gregory Bateson

As I have said earlier in Steps Towards A Deeper Ecology of Business, our dominant cultural narrative (mythos) and its organisational logic (logos) is transforming right before our very eyes.  Amid the stresses and strains of the every-day we may not always sense this seismic transformation or be aware of how much is actually shifting within and all around us. And such times of change inevitably invoke fear and denial. Clinging to the tried-and-tested safety of the status quo is a quite natural reaction, yet it only delays the inevitable, in fact it creates greater turbulence ahead as eddies and undercurrents of these transforming seas build up around us as we hold-on rather than learning to sail the stormy seas.

‘Proposals for transformational change will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn. It is true but too easy to say that the resistance will come from entrenched interests. It will come from ourselves. We are the consumers and the employees, and we are easily seduced. – James Gustave Speth

We now have evidence of a variety of organisations throughout the world successfully putting into practice new ways that challenge the out-dated, yet still dominant, paradigm of top-down command-and-control hierarchies and short-termist KPI obsessed cultures, as well as the trend towards resilient, optimising, adaptive, systems-based, values-led, regenerative businesses inspired by nature (see Firms of the Future – businesses inspired by nature).

We know that organisations, communities, cultures and socio-economics of the future need to be not just inspired by but also in harmony with Nature.  So what does this mean for you and me?  The good news is that it means becoming more alive, authentic, creative, playful and in love.

Otto Sharmer and Katrin Kaufer in Leading from the Emerging Future articulate some principles of emerging organisations and ecosystems: openness, transparency, sharing, intention, holding space, conversation, awareness (from ego to ecological awareness), commons, playfulness, diversity and symbiosis. These living, emergent soulful organisations are safe places for us to let-go of our ego-masks and be our selves. Our work contributes to our personal growth rather than stunting us.

There are time honored practices and techniques we can learn to integrate into our daily lives to help us catalyze this shift in our ways of thinking, feeling, intuiting and relating in business and beyond.

On 1st July at Ashridge Business School, I will be facilitating a workshop on Steps Towards A Deeper Ecology of Business to:

  • Discuss the profound shifts afoot in business and beyond and explore how these relate to our ways of leading and living in volatile times.
  • Assist leaders, managers and change agents in catalysing and sustaining transformation.
  • Experience and embody the Mind of Nature, enabling us to be more effective in transforming our organisations.
  • Explore ways of applying this deeper awareness to our sense of purpose, organisational culture and ways of working.
  • Undertake transformational practices that can form part of our daily lives, including post-workshop content and network.

To book your place (cost of £200 including lunch, etc.), email Victoria.brown@ashridge.org.uk  , places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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